Posts tagged: preservation

Charcot Collection Featured at Harvard University Library Event

The Harvard University Library held a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Weissman Preservation Center on March 18th at the Lamont and Houghton Libraries. The Center, funded by Paul M. and Harriet Weissman, provides centralized preservation services to Harvard libraries, including disaster response, environmental monitoring, education, and paper, book, and photograph conservation. The Center’s Jean-Martin Charcot collection of glass plate negatives was featured as an example of the impact of preservation on research access. Robin Kelsey, the Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, spoke on the collection’s importance in the history of photography and culture. Jean-Martin Charcot, a physician whose work revolutionized modern neurology and psychology, practiced the clinical anatomical method, where symptoms observed in the patient are correlated with the lesions found during autopsy. The Charcot collection, more than 18,000 negatives, the bulk created between 1882 and 1915 at l’Hospital Salpetriere in Paris, France, amplify the role of observation in diagnosis. The collection has been closed to research due to its fragile condition. It is now undergoing analysis and re-housing by Weissman conservation technicians and will be opened to research at the completion of the work in July 2010. We are grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Weissman, Weissman staff members Brenda Bernier, Maggie Wessling, and Andrea Younfert, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for support of this photograph preservation project.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Library Preserved

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By , June 12, 2009
Elements of Natural Philosophy by Golding Bird, 1814-1854

Elements of Natural Philosophy by Golding Bird, 1814-1854

Among the 48 rare books treated by conservators this year were many volumes from Holmes’s personal library, including Bird’s Elements of Natural Philosophy. An addition to being a physician, researcher, poet, and novelist, and bibliophile, Holmes was the founder of the Boston Medical Library and an advocate of libraries in general. The first thing naturally when one enters a scholar’s study or library, is to look at his books. One gets a notion very speedily of his tastes and the range of his pursuits by a glance round his book-shelves. (Poet at the Breakfast Table (VIII))

Over time the use of volumes like those donated by Oliver Wendell Holmes has resulted in damage to bindings and deterioration of paper. Because the books are of great interest to faculty, students, and scholars, the Center has established a program to restore books that have been heavily used. Gifts to the “Adopt a Book” program will ensure that these valuable books and journals will continue to be available for future generations.

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